Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ROWSON, Susanna, author, born in Portsmouth, England, in 1762" died in Boston, Massachusetts, 2 March, 1824. She was the only daughter of Lieutenant William Haswell, of the British navy, who, being engaged in the revenue service on the American station, settled in Nantasket, Massachusetts Miss Haswell's talents attracted the attention of James Otis, who was a frequent guest at her father's house, and who called her his "little scholar." During the early part of the Revolution, Lieutenant Haswell's property was confiscated, and he and his family were removed on parole to Hingham in 1775, and in 1777 to Abington. He subsequently sailed in a cartel with his family to England, and, after serving as governess, Miss Haswell married in 1786 William Rowson, a musician. In that year she published a novel, "Victoria" (London), which was dedicated to the Duchess of Devonshire, who introduced her to the Prince of Wales, from whom she procured a pension for her father. Her husband became bankrupt, and in 1792-'3 she appeared on the stage with him in Edinburgh. In 1793 they came to this country, appearing for the first time in Annapolis, Maryland, and subsequently in Philadelphia and Baltimore. In 1796 she played in Boston at the Federal street theatre, appearing in several of her own plays, and closing with her comedy, "Americans in England," in May, 1797. She then opened a school for girls. She retired in 1822. Mrs. Rowson possessed many accomplishments, was active in charities, and was a successful teacher. She edited the Boston "Weekly Magazine," and contributed to other periodicals. She wrote numerous popular odes and songs. Her plays include "The Volunteers" a Farce," founded on the whiskey insurrection in western Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1793), and "The Slaves in Algiers." Her most popular novel was "Charlotte Temple, or a Tale of Truth J' (London. 1790). Montraville, the hero, was in reality the author's kinsman. Colonel John Montresor, while serving in the British army, persuaded Charlotte Stanley, a descendant of the Earl of Derby, to embark with him in 1774 to New York, where he abandoned her. She (lied in the Old Tree House on Pell and Doyers streets at the age of nineteen years, and was buried in the grave-yard of Trinity church. In addition to the inscription, the slat) bore the quarterings of the house of Derby, and in after-years the name of Charlotte Temple was substituted for that of Startley. Among Mrs. Rowson's publications are "The Inquisitor, or Invisible Rambler" (3 vols., London, 1788 ; Philadelphia, 1794); " Trials of the Human Heart "(4 vols., Philadelphia, 1795) ; "Reuben and Rachel, or Tales of Old Times" (2 vols., 1798) ; and "Miscellaneous Poems" (Boston, 1804). Her sequel to "Charlotte Temple," entitled "Lucy Temple, or the Three Orphans," was published after her death (Boston, 1828). See a memoir by Elias Mason (Albany, 1870).-Her sister-in-law, Charlotte Rowson, born near London about 1779; died in 1855, came to this country in 1793 and appeared on the stage in light characters and sang popular songs with much effect. She married William P. Johnston, of Philadelphia, publisher of the first daily paper in that city. Their son, David Claypoole (q. v.), became an eminent artist.
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